Hybrid 'Dark Shadows' doesn't work that well

Los Angeles Daily NewsOctober 4, 2012 


    These DVDs also were released this week (when two prices are listed, the second is for Blu-ray):

    New films: People Like Us ($29.99, $39.99); Peace, Love & Misunderstanding ($24.98, $29.98); Sound of My Voice ($29.99, $39.99); The Lady ($24.98, $34.98); Red Lights ($28.99, $29.99); Flying Swords of Dragon Gate ($19.97, $29.93); The Hole ($14.99, $20.99); Chained ($26.99, $29.99).

    Older films on Blu-ray: Cinderella ($39.99); Annie ($14.99); Pet Sematary ($22.98); The Princess Bride: 25th Anniversary Edition ($19.99); Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection ($159.98); Masters of the Universe: 25th Anniversary Edition ($19.98); In the Mood for Love: The Criterion Collection ($39.95).

    Television: Downton Abbey Seasons 1 and 2: Limited Edition Set ($59.99, $64.99); How I Met Your Mother: The Complete Season 7 ($39.98); New Girl: Season One ($39.98); Magic City: The Complete First Season ($44.98, $54.99); Hart of Dixie: The Complete First Season ($59.98); 90210: The Fourth Season ($45.98); Nikita: The Complete Second Season ($59.98, $69.96); Bonanza: The Official Fourth Season ($58.98); The Six Million Dollar Man: Season 2 ($39.98); From Dust to Dreams: Opening Night at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts ($24.99); Ghost Hunters: Season 7, Part 2 ($24.98); Whittle: The Jet Pioneer ($24.98); Vexed ($29.99); Hungry for Change ($29.95).

Johnny Depp takes another turn in a Tim Burton film. This time he stars in Dark Shadows as Barnabas Collins, a self-possessed vampire who had been sleeping for a couple of hundred years before being awakened in 1970s America, the era of disco and ugly pants.

The character is from the cult TV series of the same name, which ran from 1966 to 1971, when Burton was growing up, and it made an impression on the filmmaker.

Having seen a couple episodes of the original, I have no clue why the series drew so many hard-core fans. It was different for television at the time, but now the TV schedule and the multiplexes are overrun with the undead in TV shows and films.

While Burton has made some movies that are interesting hybrids, Dark Shadows is just a weird invention. (There is something to be said for overrating your childhood pleasures.) Not really a comedy, not really scary, Dark Shadows sails uneasily through its convoluted backstory of Barnabas coming to the New World and a woman scorned (Eva Green) who turns out to be a witch.

Dark Shadows has its amusing moments — Depp is quirky as usual — and the new family living at his ancestral home, headed by Michelle Pfeiffer, is in many ways stranger than him.

There are also a few jolts, but the most interesting parts of the film are its bizarre images, pure Burtonesque, which come to the fore in the movie's conclusion. It's a bit long to wait.

Dark Shadows retails for $28.98 or $35.99 Blu-ray.

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